How to Ship Liquor?
April 2, 2008 3:04 PM   Subscribe

I'm currently in Tenn. a thousand or so miles from home. I am looking to ship several bottles of whisky back to my home state of Washington, as I have to fly to Canada before heading back home. Can anyone recommend a decent way of doing this, accepting that most delivery services (FedEx, UPS, USPS) do not allow this activity unless I'm a licensed vendor? Thanks!
posted by AccidentalHedonist to Travel & Transportation around Tennessee (7 answers total)
If you bought this whiskey from the Jack Daniels Distillery, they should be willing to ship it for you. I think George Dickle does this, too.
posted by Pecinpah at 3:16 PM on April 2, 2008

Well, you could pack it very carefully and not tell them what's in the box.
posted by chrisamiller at 3:19 PM on April 2, 2008

I do this a LOT. What you want to do is get a big box, pad it appropriately (including between the bottles), and ship via UPS/fedex(located at every kinkos). USPS rates will be expensive because of the weight (even parcel post). UPS/fedex is great because you can track it. One of those services also offers a time-delayed delivery for situations like yours. It will take about 5-7 business days to get it delivered to your WA address, and if thats not allowing enough time for you to spend with a bunch of hosers...then do the time delay service. Make sure you don't try to save a dollar by saying "no signature needed". Pay the extra dollar to insure delivery on your $$$ of goods.

Oh, if they ask whats inside, say something worth its value. Make sure you have a recent receipt of whatever you claim it is...JUST in case you it "gets lost" (VERY VERY VERY little chance...I've never had it happen).

My method is:

relieves anxiety by letting you track the stuff...and having you sign for the stuff.
USPS bans alcohol shipment...UPS/fedex don't...but they make it hard if they want to.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:31 PM on April 2, 2008

It is important to ensure that the bottles are sufficiently cushioned. Cushion each bottle inside a box. Then, put that box into a larger box and fill the void with more cushioning.

You should feel comfortable dropping your box at any angle from about waist height (or chest height if you want to be safe). I've seen firsthand why it is necessary to go to such lengths, and it's not pretty.
posted by colgate at 5:37 PM on April 2, 2008

legally, no, there is no way to ship alcohol unless you are licensed. From the UPS site "UPS provides service for other alcoholic beverages (beer and alcohol) on a contract basis only. For shipments containing beer or alcohol, shippers must enter into an approved UPS agreement for the transportation of beer or alcohol as applicable, must be licensed and authorized under applicable law to ship beer and alcohol, and may ship only to licensed consignees."

You'll have to lie, and accept what are probably federal charges if you get it really worth it?
posted by HuronBob at 5:40 PM on April 2, 2008

Why don't you just check it at the airport?
posted by delmoi at 5:50 PM on April 2, 2008

Stupid federalism. But seriously, if it's just a few bottles, take it with you (i.e., pack into a big box and fly with it to canada... then drive it home). Dead worst case scenario is that you wind up losing a bottle or two (I think you can bring two bottles of spirits between countries without paying duty) because you're caught with them undeclared (and making some Canadians very very happy in the process).

But then again, you might be able to pay the import duty and be totally legit about it. In this case, you'd declare you personal consumption bottles (2) and then pay a tax on the rest (the other 2 or 3... we're not talking 10 here, right?). Might be worth looking into what it would cost.

Drawbacks: heavy luggage, possible breakage if you don't carry it on the plane.

Upside: Very quality airport drinking, and sharing with friends in Canada.
posted by zpousman at 4:18 AM on April 3, 2008

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